NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2024

by | May 22, 2024 | Rumors | 21 comments

Could the Blackhawks or Predators pursue Mitch Marner? Which two teams could be interested in the Hurricanes’ Martin Necas or the Jets’ Nikolaj Ehlers? Read on to find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers was recently asked by a reader who would say no to a trade that saw the Chicago Blackhawks send defenseman Seth Jones to the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Mitch Marner.

Powers believes Jones isn’t untouchable but trading him would leave a big hole on the Blackhawks blueline that would be difficult to fill. In time, they hope their defense prospects will emerge and replace Jones. His contract also helps them reach the cap floor in the short term.

Assuming Marner waives his no-movement clause, he would help the Blackhawks as an ideal winger alongside young center Connor Bedard. However, he’s got a year left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $10.9 million and will seek a raise on his next contract. Powers doesn’t see the Blackhawks investing in a $10 million player right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This trade scenario has floated around the rumor mill since the Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs earlier this month. It’s not happening.

Powers was also asked if the Blackhawks would be interested in Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark if they’re not on his no-trade list. He doesn’t see that happening, partly because doing so would cost the Blackhawks draft capital to acquire, something he doesn’t see them doing for a short-term addition.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reported speculation the Nashville Predators might try to acquire Marner after trading defenseman Ryan McDonagh and his $6.75 million cap hit back to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Predators general manager Barry Trotz was asked directly about acquiring Marner but dismissed that notion. “I don’t think Mitch is a free agent,” said Trotz. “I read the same stuff as you. Just rumors.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evan Doerfler cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the Leafs haven’t spoken yet to another club about Marner. Their recent focus was on hiring a new coach. LeBrun speculated teams could start expressing interest in the Leafs winger closer to the draft next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks noted Trotz didn’t flat-out deny any interest in Marner. Like every other NHL GM, he’s not allowed to talk about another team’s player in that way as it could violate the league’s anti-tampering rules.

Trotz might call Leafs GM Brad Treliving to inquire into Marner’s availability and the asking price. Then again, he could invest his windfall in other players via free agency or the trade market.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico suggested Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could become prime trade targets for the Canadiens.

It’s expected the Canadiens will attempt to add a scoring forward via this summer’s trade market. They have a glut of young defensemen, a solid bank of draft picks, and the necessary cap space to address that need.

D’Amico cited a source close to the Canadiens confirming they’ve checked into Necas’ availability. He’ll be high on their shortlist of trade targets. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer, setting up a possible “sign-and-trade” scenario.

Ehlers, 28, has a year remaining on his contract and could be traded this summer if he and the Jets fail to agree to a new deal. The Jets are in the market for blueline depth and more draft capital. The two clubs also have a recent trade history with the Canadiens shipping Sean Monahan to the Jets in February.

The Canadiens could prefer signing Ehlers to a contract extension before agreeing to a trade.

D’Amico believes any deal involving Necas or Ehlers must make sense within the Canadiens’ fiscal structure, especially with Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle due for next contracts next summer.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Russell Macias suggested Ehlers could be a good fit as a top-six winger with the New York Islanders. He suggested offering Ryan Pulock straight up as he would help the Jets address their need for a top-four defenseman.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Stefen Rosner believes the Islanders should keep an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes’ contract chaos. He suggested pending free agents such as forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Stefan Noesen and defenseman Brady Skjei would be good fits with the Isles.

Necas would also be a strong fit. However, Rosner believes the Hurricanes’ asking price will be too high for the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas is three years younger than Ehlers and his next contract could be more affordable. Given the timing of the Canadiens’ rebuild process, he’d be a better fit for them. Whether either guy ends up with the Habs remains to be seen. They could have other options in mind.

Ehlers would be a solid fit with the Islanders. However, it would cost more than Pulock to get him. The Isles depleted prospect pipeline doesn’t leave much to draw on for trade bait.


  1. Necas is a interesting player, he’s a natural center but is stapled to the wing, he’s “very good” but plays 3rd and 4th line.
    He has difficulty getting paid and is either under-appreciated by Brind’Amour and Waddell or over-estimated outside Carolina.

    In the last 3 years he’s been paid a total of $6,860,000 while Kotkaniemi has been paid a total of $15,740,000 over the same period.

    I don’t see him often enough but to my eye he appears stunted in Carolina despite the usual good coaching and development there.

  2. Leafs will get a good return on Marner. I think he is good as gone, Frank Seravalli said he thinks it’s a 5% chance he is back in Toronto next year.

    Marner has to waive yes but he might also waive and just not want to sign, that’s fine too. After July 1- he will literally be owed just 900K in real money. That’s appealing for a lot of teams..

    Not sure I love the idea of a 30 year old Saros as big part of a return but it is what it is. Preds have something like 15 mill in dead money next year between Johansen, Ekholm, Duchene and Turris buyout and retention- that’s why they are unloading- will need to unload more to take on Marner.

    Still believe best option is Utah. They have boat loads of picks and young prospects to offer. Probably not getting Cooley Keller or Guenther BUT Hayton, Doan, McBain Simashev and Picks available

    None of the D rumored to be available are worth taking back for Marner, rather take savings and try to sign two of Montour, Pesce, Zadorov …

    • Maybe Leafs keep their core 4 and trade for the Webber LTIR contract. Nobody wants to waive……nobody has to……..

      • How about Marner to Vancouver for Hronek (RD), 2nd pick in 2025 draft plus garland or mikheyev to make the money work.

        Leafs get 2nd pairing RD plus middle 6 forward with speed a scoring ability.

      • Johnny, if the Leafs trade for Weber, it doesn’t mean they get $7.8M in extra cap space. They might pickup a a $100K or so, due to some formula of exactly where they are with reference to the cap when the season starts, but that’s it.

      • Johnny, if trading for LTIR players opened cap space for teams like you think it does, Price would have been traded 2 years ago. And Montreal would have loads of picks / assets being thrown at them for his contract.

        Simply trading for an LTIR contract does not help their cause. They still are in the same exact situation.

        They’d have to throw a big contract the other way. Or else Price’s contract is useless.

    • Sam, I don’t share your view that the Leafs will get a “good return” on Marner. Certainly not if everyone else sees the move as a desperate attempt to free up cap space (no one is going to do any favors for Treleving)- or unless they get a firm idea as to whether Marner will re-up in his new home AND at a cap hit they see as reasonable.

      In addition, there are virtually NO teams to which he might even agree to waive his NMC to join with anywhere near the cap space to take him on – not without moving considerable cap of their own (with the same limitations facing them).

      • I agree George, Marners list of teams he is willing to go to may determine the offer they get for him. less teams, less the offer.

      • Return will not be that good, especially with only one season left on his current deal.

    • If another team offers up an 8 year deal worth up to $100millon. Does Marner say no, I’ll wait a year. Having a deal signed before the one you’re on expires is definitely motivating.

      • Paid off for MeLander and Skinny Pete.

        Course, they both quit trying once they got the Brinks truck unloaded.

    • Any return on Marner will be much less than Leaf fans think.

      Muskoka Mitchs NMC gives him total control over any movement and will limit a small market even further than it already is.

      Rebuilding teams – wont want to trade prospects or picks for a potential UFA that literally has hissy fits on the bench (zero leadership)

      Contending teams – wont have the cap room to resign him, the picks or prospects to move to obtain a proven playoff disappointment.

      My guess is Lil Mitchy plays out the season in Toronto the gives a big one fingered salute goodbye on July 1st.

      • Righto! Marner will not give a trade list. He is staying put!

  3. As a Flames fan, I wonder if there’s a deal to be worked out with Markstrom for Necas (with whatever moving parts on either side to make work).

    Flames want to get younger and need to find someone to help get Huberdeau going and the Hurricanes are in win now mode and seem to get let down by goalies going cold in the playoffs.

    • Carolina and San Jose should swap players

      KK to SJ
      Coutore to CAR

      Couture put on LTIR for cap purposes
      SJ saves over 3 mil and gets cost controlled player at center to transition their rebuild with and stay above rising cap floor

      Kk still a NHL caliber body and young

      Worth the investment
      No one loses the trade

      Frees cap for CAR to have more salary room to sign Guentzel and Necas
      Move Necas back to center and get him a winger to play with to rebuild their top 6

  4. Leafs should trade Marner to LA for Pierre Luc Dubois. He has shown the Leafs that he is a formidable playoff performer.

    Ehlers to Rangers for Braden Schneider and a draft pick.

    • The Rangers currently have Kreider, Panarin, Cullye at LW, Laffrienere a LW playing on his off wing, Othmann their top prospect is a LW, but has been playing RW for a couple of month to help ease the logjam at left wing next year.

      I like Ehlers, but NY needs another LW like they need a hole in the head.

      They’re also pretty high on Schneider, I seriously doubt they have interest in moving him. But if they were to move him, safe to say it won’t be for another LW.

  5. If the Leafs trade Marner for a pick and no salaries coming back; the way to judge the Leafs is what they do with the $10.9M in salary cap space.

    Would you rather have Marner or Pesce and Montour who you could try to sign in free agency?

    No need to tell me that the two defencemen will earn more than $10.9M combined. It’s just an example.

    If we make a trade our return needs to be judged on the players we get and how we spend the available cap space, compared to keeping Marner.

    Personally, I would love to see a trade for a high draft pick (perhaps Chicago’s #2) and no salaries. Reload on future talent and spend the money on free agents.


    • Head Hunter, you just described a pure cap dump. But, with a full NMC, the teams where Marner would even think about joining are all smack up against the cap limit themselves and, in order to take him on – AND re-sign him at something north of what he’s costing off the cap now (close to $11 mil per) when he becomes a UFA in one year. any such team would have to unload considerable cap of their own.

      As for Chicago, they don’t strike me as a team seeking to plug in one big name … their re-build is methodical, with Bedard due to get a huge raise when he reaches RFA status in 2 years. In the meantime, they have to deal with several RFAs this spring and about 5 pending UFAs they’ll either have to re-up or find adequate replacements for.

      Taking on a $10,903,000 cap isn’t going to suddenly turn them around on its own – or sell more tickets (they’re already showing “sold-out” signs).

      • We have different views but everyone keeps looking at this from the perspective of the Leafs are desperate. Isnt the player desperate too? You are entering a contract year where the team has made it clear they dont want you, a hard nosed coach that probably doesnt like your style and a team that probably wont give him the same playing time and prime linemates. He is better of leaving and joining another team for a year even if not signing long term. If that is the case all of his salary is paid its a cap hit. There are many teams that have outright room (anaheim, San Jose , Chicago, Nashille and Utah to name a few). The last two arent terrible and would have some good linemates.
        This notion where you all talk about him staying lol. He couldnt take it this past year- is he going to endure a whole year of hate and not being treated like a prince lol, read the market and the player, he wants out too…

        Also please dont tell me teams dont move assets for a player on one year gauranteed contract. they do it all the time- its called the trade deadline and its for a 2 month rental. They will get some decent prospects and picks and if they take back a player with term (Saros on one year ) as part of deal thats fine too.. but make no mistake Marner doesnt want to play in this market for a year when he isnt getting signed

  6. As the Habs GM (HaHa), my offer would be;

    Mike Matheson, Joel Armia, Justin Barron & the 26th overall pick for Martin Necas & Jesperi Kotkaniemi.